There are some castings where at first blush you think “Huh? I don’t see it.” Then there are those where you hear it and immediately go “Yes! That is perfect!” and from that moment on you really can’t imagine any one else in the role. James Cosmo as Commander Jeor Mormont was one of the latter.
James Cosmo has made a living playing tough and gruff characters. The Old Bear certainly is that. But he is also an honorable man and someone who many of the Night’s Watch recruits looked up to, especially Jon Snow. James Cosmo played him perfectly, showing the Old Bear’s toughness but also his ability to be a respected leader of men. Perhaps nothing more embodies those two character traits than his scene with Samwell from two weeks ago. “Tarly, I forbid you to die.”
In this past episode, it all unraveled for Mormont. His death scene rivaled Yoren’s in terms of sheer badassness. Taking a knife in the back but still managing to turn and choke-hold Rast was the Old Bear at his absolute toughest. I mean, the man was seconds away from revenging his own death. That is hardcore.
The good news is that bastard Craster is now dead. I don’t think any one is sorry to see him go. But hats off to Robert Pugh for taking a truly vile character and playing him as… a truly vile character. He made us hate Craster the way you are supposed to, which is what a good actor does.
So we bid farewell to two actors in this Curtain Call. Robert Pugh, who played Craster, a character we all loved to hate. And James Cosmo, the Old Bear, a character that everyone loved and respected. One character we are sad to see go and one we are glad to be rid of. But two fine actors, who will be missed from this show all the same.